On to Next: The Ritual of American Football

More

As longtime readers know I've spent quite a bit of time discussing the moral implications of participating and watching professional football. I'll be spending the next few months educating myself on the subject. 


I mention this because I'd like to lean on you guys for some preliminary help. I'm looking to explore the tradition, history and function of ritualized sporting violence in societies. I want to start with a really basic question: Why do violent sports exist? I define "sport" broadly. I would include jousting for instance, or perhaps hunting, in some instances. Specifically, I am interested in the dynamics of the crowd. What are we experiencing, from a cultural perspective?

As is so often the case, I am in foreign terrain. Among the knowing, what are classic texts in this area? Any help would be appreciated. As is the case with other threads like this, I'd ask people who do not know to not comment. If all you have is a joke, save it for tomorrow's open thread. More questions that might complicate this project are welcome and appreciated.
Jump to comments

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Social Security: The Greatest Government Policy of All Time?

Social Security is the most effective anti-poverty program in U.S. history. So why do some people hate it?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

From This Author